What Is the Smart Casual Dress Code for Men?

smart casual dress code for men

Receiving an invitation to an event is usually an enjoyable thing. However, if you read the invitation and the dress code is “Smart Casual,” there might be some problems.

For men, the smart casual dress code is really vague. Some people claim that it means informal, while others interpret it as a semi-formal dress code that means they must dress up a bit.
But we’re here to clear up the confusion.

In this article, we’re diving into the smart casual dress code for men, determining what it means, and explaining the ideal clothing you should wear to events with this dress code.

Read on to learn more.

What Does Smart Casual Mean?

Most people head to the internet for inspiration when invited to an event with a dress code. The problem with smart casual is that an image search will bring in a wide variety of results. According to the internet, smart casual can mean everything from shorts and loafers to jeans and a t-shirt.

This is because smart casual is a very vague and unspecific dress code. There are many ways to interpret the dress code, so paying close attention to the event you’re attending is important.

There is a formal and informal type of smart casual. If you’re going to a lunch party with the dress code, it’s probably informal. However, if you’re attending a reunion with smart casual dress codes, this might be a bit more formal.

That said, the best way to interpret smart casual is as the in-between of casual and formal wear. So, this is still a dressed-up way of styling yourself, but it isn’t as arduous as a formal dress code.

A Men’s Guide to the Smart Casual Dress Code

If you’ve been invited to a smart casual event and aren’t sure what to wear, here’s a quick guide.


We recommend wearing a collared shirt for the more formal side of smart casual. While you don’t need to wear a dress shirt, a polo, open-collar shirt, or something similar would suffice. Even if the event isn’t as formal, we might advise against wearing a regular t-shirt when the dress code is smart casual.

If you’re looking for good smart casual shirts that are both stylish and comfortable, make sure to check out Fresh Clean Threads.


Jeans would be great bottoms when going to an informal smart casual event. However, choose clean and well-fitting dark blue jeans for the event, as anything else might be too casual.

If you want to be a bit more formal, you can go for chinos, which are probably one of the most versatile bottoms out there. If you’re going to an outdoor event on a boat or by the beach, you might be able to get away with shorts, but we recommend wearing pants to be safe.


There’s a bit more freedom when choosing smart casual shoes. With this dress code, you can wear anything from loafers to dress shoes to nice and neat trainers, which is why styling yourself for a smart casual event can be a lot of fun.

Outer Layer

For the jackets in a smart casual event, you’re best off with a sports jacket or a nice blazer. These jackets really bring the outfit together and can elevate your style immensely.


There aren’t many dress codes for men that cause as much debate as the smart casual dress code. This is one of the dress codes that are usually very open to interpretation and largely depends on the event.

So, if you’re struggling to choose what to wear for your next smart casual event, feel free to refer to any of the recommendations above, as they are sure to be stylish and dress-code appropriate.

Vanessa is a wife and mother to three rambunctious teenagers. When she’s not out lunching with the ladies or volunteering on community projects, Vanessa spends her time reading great books or attempting to write one over copious amounts of coffee. She finds writing therapeutic and is forever encouraging her kids and their friends to wield the pen rather than their mobiles.

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